Where Do Milford Candidates Stand on Abortion?

At Tuesday night's debate, candidates attempted to clarify their stance on a number of issues leading up to the November 6th election.


(Click the video to watch a section from the debate. Patch will add video for more questions throughout the week.)

In a Tuesday night debate at Milford City Hall, the candidates for Connecticut's 117th, 118th and 119th District State Representative seats, as well as the 14th District State Senate seat, discussed a wide variety of issues including education, government spending and job creation in Milford. 

'Anti-Abortion or Pro-Abortion?'

Milford Patch user Life's a Beach submitted this question for the debate:

"Are you anti-abortion or pro-abortion and would you make any changes to Connecticut's abortion law?"

Jean Rabinow of the League of Women Voters of Connecticut moderated the debate. Each candidate was given two-minutes to respond to each question.

Paul Davis and State Senator Gayle Slossberg, of the 117th and 14th Districts, respectively, each said that they are "Pro-choice" and that they would not make any changes to Connecticut's law.

Republican candidate for the 14th District State Senate seat Mike DeGrego did not mention the word 'abortion' or the terms 'pro-life' or 'pro-choice' in his response, saying,

It doesn't really matter what I think, it's what the 14th wants. That's why I'm taking this job. Because people have come up to me and said, 'Mike, no one's listening to us.'

DeGrego went on to say, "Whatever the people of the 14th want, those are my wishes."

Democratic 118th State Rep. Kim Rose and 119th Democratic State Rep. Candidate James Maroney each said that they were pro-choice.

Republican 118th State Rep. Candidate Michael Casey and 119th Republican State Rep. Candidate Pam Staneski each said that they were Pro-Life, but did not wish to change Connecticut's abortion laws.

Casey said that his Pro-Life position was not a stance that he was "going to push," adding that it was "not the reason I'm running for office."

Staneski said, "I'm Pro-Life, but I would support whatever laws are on the books."

(See the videoabove for candidates' full responses to questions on this issue).

An Overview of the Debate

The Milford Patch Candidate Debate ran for about an hour and forty minutes, and League of Women Voters members assisted in timekeeping and organization. Patch sponsored and hosted the debate.

Over the next few days, Patch will feature the candidates' answers on a variety of questions including State spending, job creation and school funding in Milford. Stay tuned!


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JE October 24, 2012 at 11:51 AM
I always have to laugh a little when people say "no one is listening to us." A representative's constituency is large. Maybe that person's opinion is not the stance the representative took, but that doesn't meant the representative was not listening. Maybe, just maybe, that person's opinion was the minority.
MJ October 24, 2012 at 01:07 PM
Not really a laughing matter...I would say that "no one listing to us" is a poor choice of words...I interpret the meaning of that statement to be "The current legislators in Hartford are out of touch with their constituents" - which is true!!
Tessa Marquis October 24, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Poorly framed question but I am not surprised to find that the Republican candidates are mostly "Anti-Choice". Their most vocal leaders are against a woman's right to choose and for making contraception difficult to get. PS Republican leadership is also for ending Social Security and cutting back on Medicare. Not a Fun Party.
Michael Brown October 24, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Pam Staneski, Mike DeGrego, and Michael Casey have disqualified themselves from representing Milford with their answers to this question. The 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade has be codified into Connecticut Law in 1997. I would hate to see Milford send representatives who opposes a woman's right to chose to Hartford. The Roe v. Wade decision was a culmination of a series of rulings by the Supreme court on contraception and abortion. The primary argument in favor of a woman's right to choose was derived from an earlier decision, Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965. This ruling overthrew the 1879 CT law that outlawed the right of married couples to use contraceptives to prevent pregnancy. The court found that there is a "right to privacy" in the constitution, which intern was the basis for the Roe v. Wade decision.
MJ October 24, 2012 at 01:58 PM
If Pam said she is "pro-life, but will support whatever law is on the books" - HOW is that a disqualification? Abortion has been legal in every state (including Connecticut!) since 1973. Do you really think one of these candidates are going to propose pro life legislation in Hartford? I'm sorry that I missed the debate, but I would love to know how the candidates responded to other questions that are related to the economy and jobs in Milford/Orange/West Haven, etc.
Michael Brown October 24, 2012 at 02:15 PM
When it comes to 'rights' it's not enough to say that they will "support whatever law is on the books." If there is anything this last political year has taught us, it's that we need legislators who will FIGHT for those rights. There have been a number of extraneous amendments introduced in the Connecticut legislature over the past two years designed to curtail a woman's right to choose. We can't trust these anti-choice candidates to fight for those rights.
Catherine Fiehn October 24, 2012 at 02:57 PM
I find asking this question of candidates a waste of time. A good representative votes for what the people they represent want , not what their personal feelings warrant. However asking someone their stance on this matter is like asking them their stance on gay marriage. It is a trick question, because you have to answer it, you might not have a real opinion on it and either way your going to lose a voter that has a strong opinion on it. Isn't it easy for someone to ask a question that they know they general population sways one way or another on but they know the candidate has a different view?? Do most voters really care about these NATIONAL issues that at this point in this state have been decided and made in laws? Don't like/believe in abortion, then don't get one. It is my opinion that there are more local situations and problems closer to home that effect them more on a daily basis.
MJ October 24, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Catherine - you are right on. I am pro-choice, but that is my personal opinion. A legitimate question for debate would be "Since abortion is legal, do you (as a elected representative) favor spending taxpayer's money to fund abortions?"
RONALD M GOLDWYN October 24, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Tessa, I prefer your husband's answer more than yours. Not all Republicans fit into the mold you are creating. I am pro-choice and will fight for a woman to be pro-life if that is her choice, and I would also fight just as strong for another woman to have an abortion. I will do all in my power never to revert to abortion with hangers in back rooms. Personally, regardless of what some declare publicly, I believe many women still will think for themselves in private. I also believe men have no veto in her decision, until he becomes the father.
Michael Brown October 24, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Other questions that come up all the time in the State and Federal legislature: - Should woman have clear and safe to access clinics in Connecticut? - Should women who have been raped be provided the the morning-after-pill in a hospital that receives state funds for emergency care? - Should Planned Parenthood be allowed to continue providing PAP tests, mammograms, and birth control to poor woman in Connecticut? - Should an employer be allowed to deny a woman coverage for contraceptives in their health insurance plan? And then there is the question candidates and legislators have raised themselves in the past year: - Is there such a thing as, or a distinction between "emergency rape" (Linda McMahon), "legitimate rape" (Todd Akin), "forcible rape" (Paul Ryan), and rape?
RONALD M GOLDWYN October 24, 2012 at 04:13 PM
"Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said that pregnancy caused by rape is something “God intended” and not a situation that justifies an abortion, roiling a tight race less than two weeks before the election. Mourdock’s comment came in response to a voter-submitted question toward the end of a debate last night with his opponents, Democratic U.S. Representative Joe Donnelly and Libertarian candidate Andrew Horning." This is why I believe men should have no part in a woman's reproductive rights.
MJ October 24, 2012 at 04:22 PM
I think this comment section should be directly related to the candidates at the Milford debate last night. Did they discuss anything that will help the communities of Milford, Orange and West Haven????
Ryan Sartor (Editor) October 24, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Hi MJ: That's a great question! I'm editing more footage from the debate right now and will have another section from the debate on Milford Patch tomorrow morning. Should issues discussed at the debate included the economy, funding of State Universities, and job creation.
Michael Brown October 24, 2012 at 04:34 PM
About half the adult population of Milford, Orange and West Haven are women.
Larissa Watt October 24, 2012 at 04:50 PM
I am not very fond of DeGrego's answer. Of course he should want to advocate for what the people want but still should stay true to your morals and values. We don't need politicians who are puppets.
JE October 24, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Could not disagree more with your "truthtelling". Are you omniscient too to know what he meant by the comment? My currrent legislators are very approachable and listen to my point of view whenever I speak with them.
PJD October 24, 2012 at 05:02 PM
As a Republican voting for Michael DeGrego, I was disappointed by his non-answer on the issue of life. I understand his desire to represent his potential constituents' wishes—too few politicians truly listen to those that elected them—but on a moral question such as whether or not an unborn child deserves a chance at life, a candidate needs to have a position. The reality is that by not coming out as pro-life, Mr. DeGrego has to be assumed to be pro-choice, as is the majority of Connecticut currently and in all likelihood, the 14th district as well. But just because the majority supports abortion does not mean that the majority is correct. We have a representative form of government, not a direct democracy. An elected official is in a position to advance the discussion, and while Connecticut will not become a pro-life state overnight, a pro-life leader not afraid to say it certainly helps to begin to change hearts and minds. As a Roman Catholic, Mr. DeGrego may actually be pro-life, or at least have reservations about the morality of abortion. But would a pro-life person really vote against life on an abortion-related piece of legislation just because he or she represented an anti-life constituency? Would Mr. DeGrego break his pledge to not vote for tax increases if suddenly the 14th district demanded tax increases? Mr. DeGrego will still have my vote, but by not taking a position, he is seeming more like a typical calculating politician than a Man of the People.
Larissa Watt October 24, 2012 at 05:03 PM
The U.S. will always allow abortion--anti abortion is a fight which will never be won in our country. I am not against abortions done in the first trimester but I can respect the position of those who are pro life. I do however feel that laws should be changed. In New York, a woman can get a late term abortion up to 24 weeks with NO medical reason. I find that irresponsible and downright murder. If a baby can live outside the womb it should not be aborted. At that point, just have the child and give it up for adoption.In Ct we allow abortions up to 21 weeks which is also wrong. The procedure is downright gruesome and the fetus feels pain at that point. Since we are obviously going to always allow abortion atleast limit it to the first trimester for non medical reasons. That is plenty of time for a woman to realize she is pregnant and make a decision. We also have the morning after pill available over the counter for "accidents"-- I would like to see a legislator take a stance and change Ct's law--it's ridiculous we allow abortions up to 21 weeks. . .If anyone feels like reading about what happens in a second trimester abortion here is the link: http://lifedynamics.com/DeathCamps/Methods2.cfm#top
Larissa Watt October 24, 2012 at 05:06 PM
In reality, I am sure there are SO many more happening at later weeks as most abortion clinics are grossly irresponsible. Did you know that in Ct a Dr performing an abortion does not have to be an OBGYN? Also, the person reading the ultrasound does not have to be an ultrasound technologist. These two factors put a woman's health at risk. Most clinics are set up like an assembly line with little regard for the woman's health.
Michael Brown October 24, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Facts about abortion in America. http://www.guttmacher.org/presentations/abort_slides.pdf
G. Gerard October 25, 2012 at 01:23 AM
A "prolife" position that allows for abortion for any reason, including rape , incest or the health of the mother, is not prolife. The fetus is a human being, worthy of the same dignity and right to life as a person outside of the womb. A human life is a life, no matter how it came to be and that life began at the moment of conception. A baby in the womb is of no less importance and no less value than any other human life. Any position that qualifies some human life as less important than another, is politically expedient at best and cowardly at worst.
Michael Brown October 25, 2012 at 04:30 AM
I won't be voting for you either @George S.
Jiimini October 28, 2012 at 09:36 PM
tessa...rest your little pro-abortion anxieties...ALL OF the candidates are pro-choice but two (Staneski and Casey) are dishonest as well, especially to themselves! No vote from me except for Wayne! Go Wayne!
Jiimini October 28, 2012 at 09:37 PM
It's murder Michael.
Jiimini October 28, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Thank God I have found someone with a heart for their fellow human beings George. Thank you George
Michael Brown October 29, 2012 at 06:17 PM
@jimini Who is Wayne?
Michael Brown October 29, 2012 at 06:18 PM
It's not murder and it's legal @jiimini.
Mike October 29, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Debate any issues related to jobs or the economy?


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